I turned the melon in my hand, analyzing every inch, trying to find any evidence of ripeness. Because, as we all know, picking a good melon — whether cantaloupe, honeydew, or watermelon — feels almost as risky as a trip to Vegas. You can give it your best shot, but there’s little guarantee you’ll go home with the jackpot.
Still, I examined its green-veined rind, the fourth or fifth I’d inspected thus far, looking for anything that might tell me this was the one that would make all my summer melon dreams come true. Satisfied I’d made a good pick, I headed to the register, mouth watering at the prospect of red watermelon deliciousness. Within moments of getting home, I plopped it on the top shelf in my refrigerator, and waited impatiently for it to chill.
Finally, the moment arrived. I pulled it out and set it carefully on the counter. Then, I found a large bowl, grabbed my best knife, took a deep breath, and began to slice.
You can imagine my horror when the first cut revealed a watermelon that wasn’t the slightest bit red inside. Not even close.
It was yellow. Bright, sunshine yellow.
How did this happen? What kind of grocery store shenanigans did the produce department pull? This was a fruit travesty. When I’d made my Vegas gamble, I’d feared picking something too ripe or not ripe enough. But it never crossed my mind that I’d end up with a watermelon that was yellow.
I would later learn that what I’d grabbed at the store was, in fact, legit. Rather than a mistake or mutant, my melon was what is called a yellow watermelon, what some consider the premium of all watermelons. They taste just like a red watermelon — maybe even sweeter. The difference? Yellow watermelons lack lycopene, the chemical that gives watermelons (and grapefruit and tomatoes) their pinkish-red color.
I tested the first pieces of yellow flesh. With eyes closed, it tasted much the same as any other watermelon — sweet, juicy, delicious. But then I opened my eyes, and I cringed. I couldn’t enjoy a watermelon that wasn’t red. And when my daughter walked into the kitchen, she had the same reaction. No matter how hard I tried to convince her that only the color was different, she wanted nothing to do with a yellow watermelon.
Something about what we saw clouded what we experienced. We couldn’t reconcile expectations with reality.
Before I bore you with any more of my watermelon dilemma, I’ll get to the heart of the matter. The lesson here isn’t about learning to pick better produce or blindfolding yourself while choking down disappointing fruit.
The real lesson?
Sometimes our disappointment over what could’ve been blinds us to the gift of what is.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in all that’s wrong. The relationship that eludes us, the marriage that wearies us. The children who flounder and the job that frustrates. Rarely does real life turn out like we dreamed. We can do our best to pick out the “right” life, but often things happen we couldn’t have foreseen or predicted. Then, when reality slices us open, our eyes go bad.
All we can see is how we’ve been wronged, wounded, hurt, disappointed.
When expectations are dashed, the experience can leave a bad taste in the mouth. And as long as all we see is what went wrong, we’ll keep pining away, day after day, wishing for what could’ve been.
But the only way to find peace is to close our eyes just a bit and surrender to what we have.
The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.
But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.
If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
Matthew 6:22-23 (NIV)
It’s true: my life doesn’t look like I thought it would. And sometimes the unexpected color of it keeps me from enjoying it. This isn’t what I wanted, what I signed up for, what I planned on.
But I did a little research on yellow watermelons. Turns out the yellow version is high in Vitamins A and C, boosting the immune system. And, unlike my preferred red variety, yellow watermelons contain more antioxidants, meaning it may pack a bigger punch against diseases like cancer — something with which I’ve had more than a little experience.
So, once again, I find myself praying a surrendering prayer. Rather than asking for a different life, I’m asking God to help me trust Him with the one I have — the one that doesn’t look like I thought, but still holds sweetness in the palm of His hand.
I trust you, God. I trust that the life I woke up to today is the one You’re in the middle of. That means, even if it doesn’t look like I thought it, it’s still good.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him,” the Psalmist said (Psalm 34:8).
Okay, I pray, eyes closed with growing trust. I will.
Rather than asking for a different life, I’m asking God to help me trust Him with the one I have. -@MicheleCushatt: Click To Tweet